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Knauss Fellows: Minnesota Sends Two to D.C.

The National Sea Grant Office invited two University of Minnesota graduate students to become Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellows in 2012. Accepting the prestigious offers, Leah Sharpe and Brooke White started their yearlong stints in Washington, D.C. on February 1, along with 39 other outstanding scholars with interests in coastal issues and policies.

Both Sharpe and White will be contributing to the executive branch of the federal government and both view this next year as a meaningful launch into careers in environmental policy. Sharpe said, "I have always been interested in the intersection of science and policy and this fellowship allows me to spend a year working directly at that intersection."

Leah Sharpe

Leah Sharpe

Sharpe will work with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries in the Office of Science and Technology. While finalizing her doctorate in Conservation Biology with professor Anne Kapuscinski, formerly with the University of Minnesota, Sharpe has also been compiling a special issue of Biological Invasions resulting from the Genetic Biocontrol Symposium that she coordinated with Minnesota Sea Grant in 2010. "We finally have all of the papers submitted so we are hoping that it will be published soon," she said.

Already living in Washington D.C., White will work with the U.S. Department of Energy. From her new digs she is penning articles for scientific journals. One focuses on how Lake Superior's warming surface temperature affects the lake's food web. Another explores the deep chlorophyll maximum and carbon cycling in Lake Superior. Both are derived from her doctoral research on Lake Superior water circulation and ice formation as guided by Katsumi Matsumoto, associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. White balances professional pursuits with her passion for biking and interest in D.C. organizations like DC Ecowomen.

Brooke White

Brooke White

"Renewable energy resources are a key component in our energy portfolio," White said. "I am excited to be a part of the effort to utilize them in an environmentally sustainable manner."

This is the first time Minnesota Sea Grant has placed two Knauss Fellows. The Knauss Fellowship is an educational experience that allows graduate students to work with marine policy in the executive or legislative branch in Washington, D.C., for one full-paid year. More information about the Knauss Fellowship is available on the National Sea Grant website.


By Sea Grant Staff
February 2012

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